Local authorities are under a duty to protect the public funds it administers. They may share information provided to them with other bodies responsible for; auditing, or administering public funds, or where undertaking a public function, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The Cabinet Office is responsible for carrying out data matching exercises.
Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.
The local authorities participating in Hampshire Home Choice participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative: a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. They are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise, as detailed here.
The processing of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under data protection legislation or the GDPR.
Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to a Code of Practice.